Everybody is Invited to “Everybody”

Synopsis: God has sent his messenger, Death, to find you so that you can come account for your life and the way you lived it. Will you be able to find anyone to go with you on this mysterious journey? It will be hilarious watching you try, anyway.

Congratulations to the cast of “Everybody”!

EverybodyposterYuki2

Mr. Sugerman recently announced the cast of Lawrence Academy’s fall play:

  • Thursday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 PM
  • Friday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 PM
  • Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 PM

Taking the stage of Lawrence Academy’s Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center (RMPAC)…

CAST:
Omar Abuhamdeh, Shriya Balaji
Sophie Beleno-Carney, Avery Cheeks
Leah Davis Lulu Feeney
Mia Gage, Rachel Gallant
Michael Kroll ,Sabrina Ladiwala
Stephen LaSala, Wilson Li
Eric Lu, Yuki Sun

STAGE CREW:
Harry Jeon, Katherine Xu
Anh Nguyen, Mia Nguyen
Jake Rutstein, Seunghee Wei
Johnny Horvath, Max Zornada

Stage Manager: Henry Trainor
Original Music: Omar Abuhamdeh

“Break a leg, everybody!”

An Academic Outlook: Jamie Baker

A Q & A with LA’s new assistant head for academic life

300 Jamie in Library

Jamie Feild Baker joins Lawrence Academy this school year as assistant head of school for academic life. Jamie previously served for four years as the chief academic officer and founding Director of the Grauer Institute at Pomfret School. In this role, Jamie managed all aspects of the school’s academic operations, curriculum, and professional development, resulting in a new and innovative approach to teaching and learning. Jamie has worked extensively with school leadership teams, boards, and education associations to address issues of strategic planning, leadership development, relevance, and long-term financial sustainability. She is nationally recognized for her work in change leadership and education innovation. Jamie holds a B.S. from The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, having majored in economics and international finance. Jamie’s home is in Memphis, Tenn., where her husband Phil runs a company that manufactures specialty parts for military aircraft. Jamie and Phil have been married for 33 years and have three adult children: Tanner, Percy, and Davis. We recently sat down with Jamie to find out more about her.

Q: You have a varied background: business and education. What are the advantages of this?
I think a diverse background, unique experiences of all sorts, and exposure to different perspectives all highlight the importance of being curious, resourceful, adaptable, and capable of continuous learning. My first job was as a certified financial planner, which gave me lots of experience with insurance, tax law, and a variety of investments. I think I learned to listen to people and ask questions in a way to identify and target goals. After about three years, I transitioned at my company to investment banking and institutional sales. This was really difficult because it was a very male-dominated industry, and they weren’t too sure how having a woman on the sales floor would change things. I gained a sense of resilience and learned how to work through tension to build relationships and friendships. After we had kids, my husband and I began buying old buildings in Memphis and converting them to businesses. We developed a boutique hotel in downtown from a boarded-up apartment building, as well as a retail center and restaurant from an old Masonic Lodge. We had to research so many different aspects, from permits to zoning to construction requirements. It seemed like we were learning something new every day. Through discovering that my son at age 9 could only read 17 two-letter words and figuring out how to solve that problem, I became involved in independent school leadership, which makes use of all of the skills, information, and habits I have learned in my past. It was through my son’s experience that I really became passionate and adamant about a school’s performance and fulfillment of its mission and the outcomes they claim to engender.

Q: What is most exciting to you about working in schools?
For me, the most exciting part of working in schools is serving students. As adults, we have the benefit of our own educational experiences and life journey’s, which give us wisdom in extending the right amounts of challenge and support to the young people in our care. In schools like Lawrence Academy, we can get to know each student and partner with them individually to find success. I appreciate being able to work in an environment where shaping a student’s sense of discipline and responsibility is as important as subject area specifics, and in a community where adults work as a team to support student growth and success.

Q: Tell us a bit about your educational philosophy.
The world in which we live is vastly different than it was when our system of formal schooling was developed. Thus, we must structure today’s school experience and targeted outcomes so they align with the environments and challenges that we know our students will face upon leaving Lawrence Academy. Everything we do as educators must cultivate a student’s ability to think deeply and independently, to define and solve ambiguous and complex problems, and to work collaboratively with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Our teaching and educational program should be designed in a way that fosters a variety of analytical and creative thinking skills and problem-solving strategies, cultivates strong communication skills across a variety of media, develops the skills of teamwork and leadership, develops digital and qualitative competency, and instills integrity, compassion, and discernment in our students. In addition, I think it is highly essential to create an integrated curriculum centered around meaningful and relevant problems and situations instead of rigidly maintaining distinct and separate disciplines, because the world does not present itself to us in separate disciplines.

Q: What attracted you to Lawrence Academy?
I am drawn to Lawrence Academy’s aspirational spirit. Despite its centuries of success, Lawrence Academy is not resting on past excellence. Instead, I see a school focused on defining and implementing educational excellence that is aligned with and relevant to modern times. I appreciate the humility, courage, and hard work it takes as an institution and community to flex and evolve. I am excited to bring my experience and passion for designing transformative learning to LA, to be a part of the school’s becoming an exemplar of modern learning practices.

Q: How do you see your first year, in a new position, in a new community?
As much as schools are the same — students, classes, teachers, events — each school community is unique and different. I see the first year at Lawrence Academy as exciting because everyone and everything is new. There is so much to learn about the many interesting individual stories and intersecting histories that make Lawrence Academy what it is. Everyone has been so warm and welcoming. I believe I will feel right at home in a short period of time.

Q: While you worked most recently in Connecticut, you are from the South! Are you ready for a Massachusetts winter?
You must be forewarning me to expect longer, colder, and snowier winters. Four years in Connecticut has certainly given me the winter wardrobe I need, but as a southerner, I will probably never truly adjust to the snow and cold.

This article recently appeared in the 2018 editon of The Academy Journal…

Jamie Baker.jpg

Elm Tree Press: Winterim at LA

GPExportPhoto_2 3

by Matt Noel ’19

LA offers each student an immense amount of opportunity. Personally, I have experienced this through Winterim.

Winterim is a two-week program at the end of the winter term that focuses on learning outside of the classroom – that could mean learning how to play chess with a professional chess player, watching musicals and writing reviews on them, or, in my case, traveling around the world doing service projects.

 

During my sophomore year at LA, I was lucky enough to travel to the Dominican Republic for Winterim on a trip called “Coffee, Kids, and Community.”

For ten days, fifteen other students, two teachers and I split our time between working at a local coffee farm in the mountains of the Dominican Republic and teaching math and English to kindergarteners in the area. When I first found out that I would be going to the Dominican Republic for Winterim, I was beyond excited.

However, I’m not going to lie, I was also really nervous. I wasn’t close friends with anyone on my trip, I was one of the only underclassmen on the trip, the only time I had left the US before was to go to Canada for a night with my family, and I wasn’t allowed to bring my phone on the trip. All traveling Winterims collect the students’ phones at the beginning of the journey so there will be no distractions.

When I got to the Dominican Republic, I forgot about all of my worries.

Most of the people on my trip were in the same situation as me and didn’t have any close friends on the trip, so we all bonded really quickly. The guides and teachers were so friendly and energetic and made all of us feel really comfortable and ready to start working.

For the first five days of the ten-day program, we worked at the coffee farm. I had initially imagined the farm we would be working at as one that you would find in the US: a flat field that extends for miles, tractors, machinery, etc., so I was surprised to see the farm consist of rolling hills splotched with coffee plants and hand-built buildings.

The staff on the farm used no heavy machinery or tractors and relied solely on their hands and the help of others, so they were pleased to have our support. We started right away helping them clear what seemed like miles of paths through the woods, building bridges over streams and small rivers, and creating a pulley system to carry materials from the bottom of the hill to the top. We did all of this by hand learning little tricks from the farm staff throughout the days we spent there.

Not only was I awed by how welcoming the farm staff was and how willing they were to teach us, but also by how impactful the help of sixteen people was. I think everyone in my group, including the guides and the teachers, realized how a small amount of assistance can go a long way.

The final half of the trip was dedicated to working at a local school building if you could even call it that – the “building” was a two-room edifice with holes in the walls, only enough desks for half the students, and textbooks that were falling apart. Coming from a private school in Groton, Massachusetts, I was shocked to see the conditions the students in the Dominican Republic were expected to learn in…

It is one thing to hear about life in developing countries on the news and from other people, but it’s another thing to actually see it and experience it firsthand. Despite the conditions of the school, the kids were all so positive, happy, and eager to learn. The students and the teachers alike seemed extremely grateful that we were there to help them, and I felt the same in return.

Not every high school student has the opportunity to travel to a foreign country for a service trip, let alone be in a place where every student and teacher strives to do just that; so, the uniqueness of the Winterim program to LA has made it a considerable part of the culture of the school, and I can confidently say that Winterim has had a positive impact on almost every student that has participated in it.

As a senior, I still am amazed by the opportunity each student at LA has largely in part to Winterim – it indeed is something special to have a school that cares so much about the betterment of the world and the encouragement of the student body to be good people.

LA Athletics Update

Saturday, 10/13/2018
1:00PM   Varsity Girls’ Soccer   Away
vs. Governor’s Academy
Tie 1-1
1:00PM   Varsity Field Hockey   Away
vs. Governor’s Academy
Tie 1-1 OT
1:30PM   Varsity Volleyball   Away
vs. Governor’s Academy
Win 3-0
3:00PM   Varsity Football   Home
vs. St. Mark’s School*
Win 40-8
3:00PM   Varsity Boys’ Soccer   Away
vs. Governor’s Academy
Win 1-0